Raphael, School of Athens, fresco, 1509-1511 (Stanza della Segnatura, Papal Palace, Vatican)

Politics of the City: Plato’s Republic

Instructor: Michael Stevenson
The Workmen’s Circle
247 West 37th St, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10018

From the ancient world to contemporary debates, the work of Plato is foundational in Western philosophy. As Alfred North Whitehead once quipped, “The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.” In particular, Plato’s Republic remains a vital touchstone for contemporary political and moral philosophers  trying to understand everything from the very idea of a good life to the arrangements of society that might make such a life possible.

In this course we will read Plato’s Republic in its entirety. Among the questions we will address are these: What is the relation between the constitution of the city and the constitution of a person (the arrangement of the psyche)? What does it mean to lead a good life? How should we understand human flourishing? Does an individual need a particular type of city in order to be good? Does a city need a particular type of individual in order to be good? In short, what is the relation between ethics and politics? In thinking about these questions that stretch back to ancient philosophy, students are encouraged to re-imagine their own relationships to the ethics and politics of New York City and our broader political world.

Course Schedule

Thursday, 6:30-9:30pm
September 14 — October 05, 2017
4 weeks


Registration Open

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